Amazon Kindle 2

Saturday, May 9th, 2009 | No Comments »
Tags: , , | Categories: reviews |

I think I first heard about the Amazon Kindle two years ago in 2007 when the first version came out. It’s this electronic device that allows you to buy e-books from Amazon through a free wireless catalogue service.  The books are beamed to your device for free in about 1-2 minutes, and you can store quite a lot of them on your device.  Prices are usually less than the print version.

Well, I came onto a bit of extra cash, so I sprang for the shiny new Kindle 2.   I can’t really make a comparison, since I’ve never owned a Kindle 1, but the Kindle 2 is prettier, boasts a longer battery life, and has better image quality (more shades of gray).   Below are the pros and cons:  

PROS

  • Light enough to hold with one hand (and I have pretty weak wrists, too!).  So light you can take it anywhere~
  • Different text sizes. This is good because it reduces eye strain.
  • Long battery life.  I’ve had it since Friday night, and it’s still got 1/3 of the battery indicator shaded.  I’ve used wireless for a few minutes a day every day.   I actually bought the Kindle for an overseas trip.  Should last me the whole time on the plane, as well as the 11-hour layover.
  • Holds lots of books. Amazon claims 1500 books, which probably means if you like big books you may have to shrink that number down to 800-1000.  Still a lot of books~
  • You can read your own documents.  You have to transfer it over, but it’s fairly easy to do with a USB cord.  There’s a converter you can download for free that’ll convert documents to the mobi format that is compatible with the Kindle.  It takes only a few seconds.  Quick and painless.
  • You can read it in the sun.  Because it uses e-ink technology, the screen sort of simulates a regular printed page.  Whereas my PDA or phone will have a glare that makes it hard to see anything on the screen when I’m walking to the bus stop every morning, I can read as I walk with the Kindle.  I’ve been leaving my mp3 player at home, since I don’t need the music to keep me busy on walks anymore.  This is where the Kindle really makes me happiest.

CONS

  • No backlight.  You can’t read in the dark.  But then you’d need a booklight with a book anyway.  I think the long batter life and the reading-in-the-sun thing is a lot more useful than a backlght.
  • No removable battery.  Not so important for me, but it’s a common complaint.  Though I suppose one should weigh this in if trying to decide, since a removable battery means you can replace the thing when it starts to die.
  • No SD card slot.  The first Kindle came with an SD card expansion slot for storying documents and stuff in.  But the Kindle 2 does have 1.4 GB of accessable storage space–more than enough for documents, I think.
  • Text-screen contrast is not great. It’s definitely readable, but the contrast is not as good as that of a printed page, nor that of a backlit LCD screen.  It’s my biggest gripe, since it’s really hard to read the Kindle in bad lighting.
  • Buttons are a bit firm to press.  I think maybe it’s just me.   I haven’t read any other complaints about the button being too hard, but you notice it after a few hours of reading and pressing.  Changing hands helps, though.  There are page-turn buttons on both sides.

OVERALL

It’s a great buy, and I don’t regret it.  I was pretty disappointed with the contrast level of the screen at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and I was truly amazed the first time I took it out into the sun.  It’s a pretty shiny new piece of technology, and great for prolific readers.

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